Do we really need a “stress awareness month”? I’m pretty sure we are already aware of how stressed we are! How can we not be? We’re constantly being bombarded with energy, taking on extra responsibility and attempting to meet our various and ever-increasing deadlines.
From the media to friends, family and even those we don’t even know, everything is energy and, at times, we are effected without even knowing the source. Isn’t it interesting that Stress Awareness Month is also the month our taxes are due?
Although each of us could choose neutral, say hello to the energy and simply let it go, most of us have not arrived at that blissful, neutral, non-complicated place. For those of us who are givers we need to remind ourselves it’s important (and OK) to give to ourselves. Even 5 minutes of self-care begins to do just that.
When we really break it down, much of the cause of our stress comes from our attention being outside of ourselves. We are thinking (or worrying about) the past or future. We are trying to control others. We are in resistance (circumstances or people), or we are worrying about others and/or how someone else will react. Of course there are many other stressors but for now, let’s focus on a few things we can do to de-stress.
Bodies not only need balanced nutrition but they ENJOY eating! When you eat a healthy, balanced diet your body will be happy. Focus on your food when eating. If you’re at home, eat at the table, use the good dishes. Make mealtime enjoyable. Really taste the food. The more of your senses you use, the more in present time, and less stressed, you will be! Also, a hungry body is a stressed body. Don’t skip meals and DO have something on hand for when you find yourself hungry between meals. It’s ok to add healthy snacks or an additional small meal to your day.
Exercise and Play
Fact: Bodies need to exercise AND play! You might not enjoy exercising in the traditional sense so find something you enjoy doing. Maybe even combine it with play! Go to the playground and swing on a swing. Skip down the street, take a dance class, enjoy a bicycle tour of your city, go to the arboretum or walk the gardens, go on a hike, a climb or try something new like spelunking. Commit to a little “fun movement” every day. If you don’t have much time you can certainly take a 10 minute walk. Whatever you choose to do, be sure to notice your surroundings. Smell the flowers. Listen to sounds and by all means feel your body and breathe!
When was the last time you did something you enjoy for no other reason but you enjoy doing it? What are you interested in? Sometimes we get so caught up in work and/or day-to-day tasks we forget to do the things we like to do. It might be an artistic endeavor, a craft, an activity, learning to speak another language or even reading a book. I just read a study that said reading for only 5 minutes will dramatically reduce stress. If you don’t have a hobby but want to try something new, check out Meetup.com . Scroll through and find something that sounds like fun and by all means check it out. Any shift in your attention and energy will shift your stress level!
There is nothing better for de-stressing than meditation and inner reflection. Create a “Zen Den” for yourself. This is a comfortable “sanctuary” space free of distractions; A safe, anxiety free, zone if you will. If you have a meditation practice great! If not, simply close your eyes, breathe, bring your attention and energy back to you and imagine the stress simply melting away.
Meditation won’t solve all your problems but it will instantly shift your energy and definitely help! I have a couple of guided meditations (free to listen or download) available on my website and I’m working on adding a special stress relieving meditation as well. “Transforming Chaos to Calm” was initially offered as a free meditation workshop and is a very popular download.
Get a Massage
A massage is a great way to unwind and don’t discount the power of the human touch. If you are feeling isolated, alone and stuck in your thoughts, a massage will bring you back to the present. It will not only bring your attention back to your body it feels good! If you have a limited amount of time, check out a neck/shoulder massage. Depending on where you live and what your job is, they might even offer these types of massages at your workplace or close by.
Now that you have a few tried and true ways to de-stress, do you know what they all have in common? With each one you step out of your “thoughts”, shift your perspective and re-center mind, body and spirit in present time! Your energy and attention are on you, for you.
Part of de-stressing lies in the ability to give to yourself. Take a breath, acknowledge you are stressed then stop and get into present time with your surroundings. If you think you don’t have time, think again! There are 24 hours in a day and we’re talking about 10-15 minutes a day at the very least, 1 or 2 hours a day at most, depending on how much time you have and/or need to de-stress.
Take time each day to unwind and bring your attention back to you. Create a “Zen Den” sanctuary. Live in the moment. Live in your breath and transform chaos to calm.~Shine Your Light Debbie
©Debra Taitel 2015 All Rights Reserved